Monday, 21 April 2014

Wandering the Moors and an Undisclosed location

 After our walk at Wycolle I decided to head off to an undisclosed location that Dave Sutcliffe had told me about where I stood a good chance of seeing little owl, a very charismatic bird that I hardly ever see. As a result, and seeing as I was doing a yearlist and was taking my birding more seriously I decided to try and track some down, and Dave had kindly provided me with a location where I would be able to see them.
To get there we headed to Ogden and up onto the moors via the Golf Course. Ogden was pretty quiet, a pair of Lesser Black-Backed Gulls on the buoy being the highlight. The golf course was similarly quiet, though we did stumble across a mixed tit flock feeding on the edge of the woodland.
It was as we left the golf course that things started to look up. As soon as we reached the old Withens pub did a Sparrowhawk fly past us hunting the fields there. The view was brief but was very good. From there we headed down to Cold Edge Dams. There we stumble across a Wheatear, a really nice one, though for most of our time watching it it had had its back to us.
The dams themselves were not very busy bird-wise, but had some stuff on them, such as Tufted Duck and just as we were leaving an Oystercatcher flew over, which was a bit unexpected. The highlight was a House Martin that flew over the dams. Its only me second of the year, and the first one I got a proper view off.
Continuing we wandered onwards to the site. When we arrived we immediately began hunting the walls for the Little owls. It did not look promising after 10 mins, we searching the walls going down the road, my dad searching those going up. However, soon I stationed myself so that I could scan properly and drew out the scope so I can get a proper look. It took about 5 mins but my eyes finally settled upon a lovely pair of little owls. I heralded my dad through a series of waves and gesticulations. Together we watched the owls for some 15 mins, first from the wall where I had originally spotted them and then from the road. They were really nice to watch, and through the scope we got great views, though they were not as bold as little owls often are (or so I'm told). As a result when we tried to get a little closer, we were still not even that close, they startled and left. This was unfortunate, and unexpected as we had hardly left the road and were still in the field opposite from the owls. We still got a great view but as a result were unable to get any decent photos, those being record shots.

-Little Owl
Having lost the owls we continued our way and ended up on the moors on the top of Luddenden Dean. We followed the top path as though going to Fly Flatts. It was along this path that I spotted our find of the day, and possibly my personal rarest ever complete self find. A dark thrush landed on a fence post in front of us. I pulled out my bins, but the bird had already taken off. I followed its flight and saw the striking white mark along its chest, making it a stunning male Ring Ouzel. Sadly it was already departing when I identified it, but was unable to re-find it, the only thing re-found was 3 mistle thrushes. Having lost it was a little disappointing but it was still enough, and I was well happy.
We continued along the path until we reached fly flatts. However along the way the weather turned on us and as a result the number of birds dropped rather quickly. On fly flatts there was not much happening besides some red grouse. Along the road we stumbled across 2 wheatear making stonechat noises, as well as a redshank that flew over us. 
The walk down the golf course and then back to the house produced absolutely nothing of note, and so the story of the walk pretty much ends here. It was a long walk and I was dead by the end, though we we had seen loads of stuff and had a good time. The only thing left to do is to give a complete species breakdown...

Species List:
Ogden Water LNR: Goldfinch, Carrion Crow, Herring Gull, Woodpigeon, Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Feral Pigeon, Jackdaw, Pied Wagtail, Starling, Skylark, Chaffinch, Magpie, Canada Goose, Mallard, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Meadow Pipit, Coal Tit, Kestrel, Jay, Lapwing, Swallow, Curlew
Cold Edge Dams: Sparrowhawk, Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Lapwing, Skylark, Canada Goose, Mallard, Curlew, Tufted Duck, Wheatear, Reed Bunting, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Starling, Pied Wagtail, House Martin, Black-Headed Gull, Oystercatcher, Willow Warbler, Pheasant
Undisclosed location: Little Owl, Meadow Pipit, Lapwing, Carrion Crow, Starling
Warley Moor: Ring Ouzel, Mistle Thrush, Magpie, Red Grouse
Fly Flatts: Red Grouse, Redshank, Wheatear, Lapwing, Meadow Pipit, Curlew, Canada Goose, Swallow

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